Dieudonné Niangouna Nkenguegi


Nkenguegi, the final part of a trilogy that began with Le Socle des Vertiges, followed by Shéda, is a further incursion into the writing of this author for whom “art is an escape from barbary”. Thanks to a form of language which places the real in the realms of the imaginary - language which is alive, exuberant, poetic, gushing with emotion and anger in equal measure - Dieudonné Niangouna does not set out to move, or convince. Nor is he interested in finding the happy medium or half-hearted consensus. With every ‘i’ he dots or ‘t’ he crosses, his biting, disturbing words assail us. He overturns the French language, and reconstructs it, making it all the more incisive, and aggressive. He reinvents it, in such a way that it voices the profound pain of all those that suffer the violence of a world turned upside-down. Far from inconsistent banter and sweeping judgements, Dieudonné Niangouna’s imperious writing is urgent and vital. Unafraid of contradictions or hesitations, its mixture of humour and derision transports us body and soul on a heart-rending journey. A journey which, before our very eyes, thousands of women, men and children undertake, day after day, in the all too often deadly waters of the Mediterranean. But this is also the journey which man accomplishes throughout his lifetime, a journey through dreams and nightmares which inflame the spirits. Ten actors and three musicians will be inhabiting the rich and vibrant world which Dieudonné Niangouna conjures up, leading us to diverse places, from one continent to the next. They will simultaneously be actors of theatre in the theatre, emigrants thrust into mundane Parisian life, a “a lone guy on a little boat, abandoned, ”, “a voyager whose dream has been stolen”... Crossing through time and space, Dieudonné Niangouna’s vast, multi-angle fresque experiments with recorded images, puts the poetic spoken word on centre-stage, and leaves ample room for the sounds of Africa... All this in order to put, in an urgent way, a name to a state of the world, void of any form of complacency - driven, rather, by an “unstoppable will to live”.